Peter Birkenholz, Drawing of the Sphere House City, 1927, Architekturmuseum der TU München.

This astonishing drawing by Peter Birkenholz (1876-1961) prefigures his design for the Kugelhaus (Sphere House) built for the Technical City exhibition in Dresden in 1928. An example of constructive prowess and aesthetic daring, this short-lived building housed various exhibitions and a café until it was demolished in 1938 by the Nazis, who considered it an example of ‘degenerate technology’.

Birkenholz, a construction engineer, imagined building entire cities of sphere houses, as this drawing shows. Birkenholz’s approach was in keeping with the enthusiasm for technological progress shared by modernist architects. Their aim was to rationalise construction in order to save time and money and thus meet the needs of the masses. The use of modern building materials, modules and standardised mass-produced elements were their preferred processes.

Sonia de Puineuf